After a stellar start to ski season, Mother Nature threw a curveball at us last weekend.
For a lot of families like the Ilics, the holidays are a time to hit the slopes together.
"We were here last year. We loved it. This year we wanted to come when there's more snow," said Aleksandra Ilic, Toronto, Canada.
They're in the middle of their ski vacation at Jay Peak.
"A lot of greens for the kids. We do have two younger ones, too. And they're actually in the kids club right now," said Aleksandra.
On this day, Jay Peak had 42 of 78 trails open compared to only six open trails this time last year.
The snow is fast. Just like Aleksandra's two older children like it.
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"'Cause it's cool and it's fun. I like when I go fast," said Isidora Ilic.
Thanks to more than 100 inches of natural snow so far this season, the trail coverage is good. But with some rain falling last weekend, followed by cold temperatures, snow surfaces are no longer soft. They're now very firm. There's a mix of machine-groomed and frozen granular surfaces, along with some icy spots, especially on the steeper pitches. It was easy to lose an edge. But if you stick to the sides of the trails you're sure to find some softer snow.
"Actually great, especially compared to last year. It's very nice," said Aleksandra.
"It's pretty good. It's a little icy, not too bad. Good enough base layer where it's fine to ride and go through anything really," said Matthew Crawford, Albany, New York.
Matthew likes the jumps.
The weather this past weekend put a little bit of a damper on ski conditions. The good news is that by later this week, particularly on Thursday, is that a few to several inches of snow could fall at some area ski resorts. And that will help to refresh those snow surfaces.
There's also a silver lining to that dreaded "R" word.
"Some of our upper mountain can get exposed to the wind. Having that rain land on top of the snow really packed it in," said J.J. Toland, Jay Peak.
With that firm snow not going anywhere anytime soon, Jay Peak is hoping to be close to 100 percent open for Christmas week. It's good news for vacationers like the Ilics.
"It just gives a chance to bond, to relax, forget, especially when you're skiing," said Aleksandra.
After all, the holidays are about spending time with family and friends.
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